Thursday, August 13, 2015

Awake at 4 A.M.

4 A.M. Yep, that’s what the clock showed as I looked at it for the third time this morning. I was awake. Fully awake. The “I don’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of going back to sleep” kind of awake.

“I can beat this,” I thought as I adjusted my pillow and took a deep breath. My mind was buzzing. Thoughts whirled inside my brain like leaves on the winds of a hurricane.

I gave up around 5:30 A.M. and got up.

What had my mind racing, you wonder?

The idea of living a more joyful life. I don’t mean being super happy, but living from a place of real joy. I’d been thinking about this a lot lately when I found the perfect book to help in my quest. It wasn’t what I expected.

“The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: the Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing” by Marie Kondo isn’t the type of book I usually buy. But it had been recommended by a couple of my “metaphysical” friends who raved about the spiritual transformations possible by “tidying up” as Marie describes.

“I bet,” I thought sarcastically.

Don’t misunderstand. I’m a big fan of a clean, decluttered house. And while I always feel better in an organized space, I had my doubts that this method would greatly enhance my spiritual progress. I was wrong. It works.

I urge you to read this little book to learn the particulars, but the essence of Marie’s message is simple. In your personal environments, only surround yourself with items that “spark joy.”

The premise is brilliant. How could you help but feel grateful, abundant and productive when everywhere you look sparks joy? Not just nice, not just neat, but sparks joy? Wow. Guess that would qualify as life-changing and certainly transformational.

I’ve started the process and it’s nothing short of amazing. I feel lighter, happier and more peaceful. Incredible. We totally renovated our home last year, so I’d already donated or thrown out boxes of “stuff” and the remaining items had been carefully organized. This method goes even further. And now the bar has really been raised.

When considering a purchase of new clothes or household items, I take the time to ask myself, “does this spark joy?” If possible, I hold the item in my hand to see how it feels, or rather, how I feel about the item. It sounds crazy, even to me, but something’s working. I feel more joyful during the day. I’m dancing while I do the laundry. I feel grateful for the job each item has in my home and how it contributes to my life.

I know, it sounds nuts.

I’ve told my clients for years that “your external world reflects your internal world” and I believe it. While I wanted my external world to reflect joy, I never imagined I could have EVERYTHING in my personal environment do that. I’ve always had certain possessions that made me happy, but never a roomful. Thanks to Marie, I now understand how to do that. I even know how to tame the piles of paperwork that plague me. After I finish my tidying project, however, that won’t be an issue. How much more joy could I then experience?

That’s what I was wondering at 4 A.M. this morning.